The concert at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Little Theater featured celebrated international pianist Aries Caces and Manila Symphony Orchestra’s eminent Conductor Arturo Molina in a program consisting of Richard Strauss’ tone poem “Death and Transfiguration,” Rachmoninov’s Concerto No. 3 in D minor and “Symphonic Dances.”
Described in print as “late Romantics;” their works were, therefore, far removed from the exquisite lyricism of Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann and Chopin. (As an aside Sergei Rachmaninov, traditionally signed off and spelled his works as Rachmaninoff, making it his trademark.)
Strauss’ tone poem was rich in orchestral colors, with each instrument and each section—strings, winds and percussions—given distinct importance. The music itself was a series of transfigurations, sounds shifting from almost inaudible, reflecting death, to thunderous tutti explosions—all these replete with discords and dissonances.
“Symphonic Dances,” which seemed more like symphonic rather than dance music, was explained by Rachmaninov himself as a work intended not as dance music but music inspired by dance. Presumably, not even Balanchine could have choreographed to it; neither Leonide Massine of Ballet Russe could have danced to it. The MSO under Molina’s baton excellently delineated the arresting, abrupt rhythms and constant contrasts in dynamics.
The concertos of Rachmaninov, the towering piano virtuoso, were an outlet for his own virtuosity. Aries Caces magnificently and masterfully rose to the challenging demands of the Concerto No. 3, his nimble fingers dexterously executing the swiftest runs or cascading chordal passages, his subtle artistry expressing passion and turmoil, the restlessness typical of Rachmaninov’s spirit, and ending in overwhelming climaxes. How the composer himself would have been gratified with Caces’ superlative performance!
The MSO brilliantly responded to Molina’s cues with vitality, vigor and vibrance in tutti fortissimos, or played in gentle cadences.
The rousing concert drew intense, insistent, prolonged applause, with Caces having electrified the audience as he did in a previous recital at the UP. To the avid applause, pianist and orchestra rendered an excerpt from Rachmanonov’s “24 Variations from a Theme by Paganini.”
To Caces and Molina, a resounding “Bravo!”
World radio message from Cecile Alvarez
“Earthsavers Dreams Ensemble” is a renowned Philippine theater company made up of people who are disabled, from disadvantaged backgrounds or indigenous communities. The Ensemble, which has won accolades around the world for its moving performances, was nominated Unesco Artists for Peace in recognition of its dedication to Organization’s aims and ideals, and its contribution, through the performing arts, to the propagation and promotion of the Unesco’s message of peace, tolerance and hope.
Radio in the Philippines is a very important creative classroom that can be utilized for projecting values that we want youth to assimilate or at least traditions that must not be lost, to provide them also a platform for interaction; exchange for reflecting their own comments and opinions, needs, aspirations with regard to the challenges that we face. The issue of poverty, of course, in a developing country is a big issue. The youth can be able to conscientize people about the need to lessen the gap between the rich and the poor.
Education is so important for parents; it is the most valued gift that they can give to their children and yet so many still are out of school. And so it is important that, even the out of school, can be drawn into some learning situations through radio because it’s accessible, even if they are not in the classroom. It is also very important for expanding their consciousness on a lot of issues. Even not just to be a good citizen for a country but to be a global citizen. As it means to get them interconnected or linked to many parallel conditions and situations occurring in their countries. The challenge of global climate change doesn’t just concern us, it’s a world problem. The issue of peace, I mean, we have been seeing armed conflicts in different continents, but it is also in our backyard. How can they themselves be the force to help stop violence against mankind and Mother Earth?
All of these issues can be dealt with through radio because of its outreach. Radio reaches millions and goes even beyond your boundaries. So we can even reach our citizens who are in diaspora, who are in other countries. Because now our radio broadcast goes into global webcast.
So this is a way to connect, to link, to affirm. Radio is a powerful tool for education, education for peace and sustainable development.
Youth is the future of any country. As Unesco said, you must take destiny in your hands. You can do it and we expect it.
I’m Cecile Guidote Alvarez. I’m director of the Earthsavers, which has been honored by Unesco as Artists for Peace.”